I have in the past few weeks had a couple of queries on the recently published alert from Worksafe Victoria Australia. While this is a first for a Molift supplied product, it is unfortunately not the first or only instance of a portable hoist being involved in this kind of accident.
I think since this forum topic discusses the situation it is a good place to provide generic advice. If however you would like to discuss the detail in this situation or speak more specifically on these issues with other portable hoists please do get in contact with either myself (Megan Ransley Physiotherapist Morton&Perry) or David Morton (CEO Morton&Perry).
We are keen to express our sadness that this has happened and to help in any way we can to stop it happening again with any portable system.
In 2016 in Australia, Molift have unfortunately had their portable hoist (The Nomad) involved in an incident at an aged care facility where the motor came down from the rail resulting in a fall and injury to the hoisted client and later that person passing away from Pneumonia in hospital. This mechanism of accident was found to be a case of the hoist not being placed into the rail correctly, it not being secure and the motor falling.
“There have been several other incidents where portable patient handling ceiling hoists, which use latching hooks and wands or just wands (also known as extension arms), failed when transferring patients, causing serious injuries.” Safety alert published Wednesday 23 Jan 2019
Portable hoists present the benefit that one motor can be used to cover many spaces. By design they able to be separated from the ceiling rail and moved to another rail by staff. They are a cost-effective option for many health care settings, allowing one motor to service many rails. There is however an opportunity cost associated with portable hoists. The “every-time” set up of the hoist into the rail is crucial to their safe operation. Molift have thoroughly investigated the systems for coupling and stressed the importance to all their suppliers of proper training for those using the hoists.
An emphasis from the below recommendations as a result of the investigation into this accident are endorsed by Morton&Perry.
• use permanently attached (as opposed to portable) ceiling hoists where reasonably practicable
• ensure manufacturer instructions for installation, use, maintenance and cleaning of hoists are followed in the workplace
• provide information, instruction and training to employees and contractors on how to
• properly connect, check and use hoists, and provide supervision as necessary
• require employees and contractors to undertake pre and post connection checks (and cross checks) of hoist components that are required to lock together during use
• ensure load ratings are identified and marked on hoist suspension components, and keep records of these ratings at the workplace
• arrange regular inspection, testing and maintenance of hoists – it may be necessary to
• engage a third-party service provider who has expertise in hoist inspection and maintenance
• withdraw and dispose of damaged, worn or faulty hoist components
Morton Perry only use genuine manufactured, tested and certified Molift products, accessories and parts compliant with all NZ & International related standards. In New Zealand We use third party service providers for inspection and maintenance which creates professional distance and avoids conflicts of interest.
I hope this info has been of use to give some further background and context to the situation. I personally think the portable hoists are a great product for a specific need but have taken further note of the specific cautions above. If your organisation has portable hoists we recommend adding the set up of any portable hoist to mandatory induction then annual training if not already covered.